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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
10/8/1998--Passed Senate amended. Charter School Expansion Act of 1998 - Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize a State educational agency (SEA) to use funds for planning, designing, and initial implementation of public charter schools. Requires local educational agencies (LEAs) to use innovative assistance funds for the same purpose. (Sec. 3) Sets forth certain priorities for awarding charter school program grants to SEAs. Bases such priorities on State progress in increasing numbers of high quality and accountable charter schools, and on State provision for: (1) non-LEA public chartering agencies or LEA appeals processes for denials of charters; (2) periodic review and evaluation of charter schools by the chartering agency; and (3) charter schools' participation in State or local assessments of public schools. Includes among requirements for SEA applications for charter school program grants a description of how the SEA will: (1) inform each charter school of available Federal programs and funds that each such school is eligible to receive; (2) ensure that each such school receives its commensurate share of Federal education funds allocated by formula; and (3) disseminate best or promising practices of charter schools to LEAs. Includes among criteria for the amount of such a grant award to an SEA the number of charter schools that are operating, or are approved to open, in the State. Revises SEA application requirements to include descriptions of: (1) how a charter school that is considered an LEA, or an LEA in which a charter school is located, will comply with specified provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and (2) dissemination activities and how they will involve charter schools and other public schools, LEAs, developers, and potential developers, if the applicant desires to use subgrant funds for such activities. Revises selection criteria for SEAs to receive grants to include: (1) the number of high quality charter schools created in the State; and (2), in the case of SEAs that propose use of up to ten percent of grant funds for such activities the quality of dissemination activities and the likelihood that they will improve student achievement. Allows a charter school to apply for funds to carry out dissemination activities, whether or not it has applied for or received funds for planning, program design, or implementation, if it has been in operation for at least three consecutive years and has demonstrated overall success. Directs the Secretary of Education to: (1) reserve a specified amount for specified national activities on behalf of such charter schools; and (2) (along with SEAs) ensure that each public charter school receives its full share of funding for LEAs for helping disadvantaged children meet high standards. Sets forth requirements for solicitation of input from charter school operators, student records transfer, and paperwork reduction. Specifies that a public charter school: (1) must have a performance contract with the authorized public chartering agency in the State; and (2) is a school to which parents choose to send their children. Extends the authorization of appropriations for FY 1999 through 2003.